What's in my head

This is the home of your average girl in her early 30s making her way in the big city...Not really. I have thoughts. Now I have somewhere to put them.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

High flying

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's flying Danielle in her fetching helmet and funny looking (but super safe) harness.
This was so fun. I think everyone should try it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Still in one piece

I took off. I flew. I landed.
It was an incredible experience to be flying at 1,300 feet. Flying higher than the hawk.

Pics and detailed description to come later...I should probably do the assigment for work first.

What was I thinking?

After my hot air balloon experience I decided to try hang gliding. I fly in two hours. I'm a little scared. By 'little' I mean petrified...knots in my stomach...thinking of sending e-mails/making calls to friends and family to say...

No, I must think positive. It's going to be fun, a memorable experience — and I get paid to do it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

And Canada makes three...

After years of debate about the issue, the House of Commons legalized same-sex marriages tonight joining Belgium and the Netherlands as the only countries to have done such. I applaud the 158 MPs who voted in favour of the bill for the message they sent to Canadians and the world. Going into tonight's vote P.E.I, Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories were the only jurisdictions in Canada still denying civil marriages to same-sex couples so for the majority of Canadians there is no change. What's important is the message tonight's vote sends: Canada believes in equal rights for everyone.

Like extending the vote to women or equal rights to minorites, this is an issue of equality and human rights. It took strong outspoken people to change those injustices and now if anyone were to suggest taking them away the vast majority of people would scream discrimination. In time I hope the same happens when people talk about same-sex couples not being allowed to marry and then the people who fought in favour of this bill and the MPs who voted in favour of equality will get the credit they deserve.

Hopefully this decision also means the name calling and attacks will stop. The sky didn't fall tonight...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Google me

The day I have been waiting for has finally arrived. After being in existence for nearly three weeks, my blog can now be found on Google.

I know, I'm geeky...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Raking - Oyeh!

That's right, no power tools for me this time around volunteering at Habitat for Humanity Toronto's biggest build. Instead, I got to use a rake! And a hose!

Today was my first day back on the site since October and I forgot just how much work it is. The day started at 8:30 a.m. with the signing of the waiver, the selecting of the hard hat and the usual safety speech. My crew leader informed us that we would be moving a pile of dirt - how exciting! I thought it'd be a piece of cake...I was wrong. Picture this: it's 34 degrees (43 with the humidity) and the sun is shinning down, I'm wearing a hard hat (remember, heat escapes through the head), jeans, and two tops. Now raking becomes the hardest job in the world. I had to take a 10 minute break after every 20 minutes of work to keep from collapsing. Despite the sweating, the dirt and my sore feet (steel toe/shank shoes are less comfortable than spiked heels), my effort (and that of my crew mates) helped make a difference - even if it was just a small one. What started as a big pile of dirt had become the base for three yards of beautiful green sod just seven hours later.

Even though I'm pretty sure I have mild heat stroke and dehydration, I'll know the pain was worth it when I see the first 10 families handed the key to their new homes tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2005

O Canada

Our national anthem was sung for the first time on this date in 1880...but it was in French...and technically, it wasn't our national athem yet.
That didn't become official for another 100 years (and one week)...hmmm, that would have been my very first Canada Day.

This is an early English version done in 1906:
O Canada! Our fathers' land of old
Thy brow is crown'd with leaves of red and gold.
Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross
Thy children own their birth
No stains thy glorious annals gloss
Since valour shield thy hearth.
Almighty God! On thee we call
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall,
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall.


This was another English version:
O Canada! in praise of thee we sing;
From echoing hills our anthems proudly ring.
With fertile plains and mountains grand
With lakes and rivers clear,
Eternal beauty, thos dost stand
Throughout the changing year.
Lord God of Hosts! We now implore
Bless our dear land this day and evermore,
Bless our dear land this day and evermore.

And this, yet another:
O Canada, our heritage, our love
Thy worth we praise all other lands above.
From sea to see throughout their length
From Pole to borderland,
At Britain's side, whate'er betide
Unflinchingly we'll stand
With hearts we sing, "God save the King",
Guide then one Empire wide, do we implore,
And prosper Canada from shore to shore.

Who knew there were so many? At least they all started the same or else our anthem might not have the beautiful name it does today...

Americans=violent & rude, say Canadians

According to a new report, we (the Canadian people) have a less favourable opinion of the United States in 2005 than we've had for years...Really?! I wonder why? (war in Iraq, George W. Bush - wait, that's enough). Based on the Pew report only 59% of Canadians have a favourable view of the U.S. (I thought it'd be lower...) compared with 71% in 1999/2000. Public opinion in Britain, another big American ally, is also decreasing with only 55% of Britons holding a favourable view of the Yanks in 2005 compared with a whopping 83% in 1999/2000.

There is a silver lining in the report: anti-Americanism is on the decline in such nations as Poland, Russia, Indonesia and Jordon - where a favourable opinion is now held by 21% of the population compared with 1% just two years ago. Can't you just feel the love...?

The report also rates how the Western public views Americans. More Canadians selected violent and rude than people from any other country, while Amercians elected to describe themselves as hardworking, honest and greedy*.

*I'm confused...isn't greedy a bad thing?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Run, the pink goo is gonna get you!

I just happened to be eating a yummy (and normal sized) purple popsicle as I read this oh so amusing story:

Giant popsicle melts, floods New York City park
NEW YORK (AP) - An attempt to erect the world's largest popsicle in a New York City square ended with a scene straight out of a disaster film but much stickier.
The 7.6-metre-tall (25 feet), 16-tonne treat of frozen Snapple unexpectedly quickly melted in the midday sun Tuesday, flooding Union Square in downtown Manhattan with pink fluid that sent pedestrians scurrying for higher ground.

Wanna know how it ends? Click here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hot air balloon ride

Originally uploaded by danielle6.

I finally have some photos to show off from my 'trip' Saturday. This one is of Lake Scugog...Unfortunately the camera I borrowed only had the capacity for 11 photos. I do have some of those old-fashioned film ones too.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I am 'very superior'...apparently

K, so I'm at home sick and bored. While wasting some time online I got a pop up for an IQ test, I figured I had five minutes to waste so I did it. I got 136 (it's on the internet, it's got to be right...).
How smart are you?

maybe I should try to get a higher paying job if I'm so "superior"...

Up, up and away

Armed with two dozen tissues, me and my stuffy noise floated 1,000 feet above north Durham last night and it was pretty cool (my job has the occasional perk).
It was my first experience in a hot air balloon and although I didn't feel like I was flying it was still a pretty memorable experience. There was no fear, no knots in my stomach (well, there was momentarily as I signed the waiver releasing the company from any liability if anything happened to me - ballooning is a sport after all, apparently...).

Once we reached our launch point in Scugog, Dave and Drew (the ballooners) set to work unraveling the massive blue and white balloon. Two of the passengers offered a hand while me and the old guy stood around taking pictures. They used a big fan with a jet propellor to first fill the balloon with cool air and then the burners were lit to heat the air to make the balloon stand upright. The basket was tethered to the truck to prevent the balloon from taking off without us. Once the balloon was upright we all climbed in - the old guy, the big guy, the insurance guy, the pilot and me. It was a tight squeeze. The tether was released and we began to float up, up and away.

It was a very slow, calm ascent. The lush green fields and patches of trees began to take shape as we climbed higher. Once we reached our top height I could see Lake Ontario to the south, Lake Scugog to the east and the skyline of downtown Toronto to the southwest. When I looked down I could see people swimming in their backyard pool, a deer walking through a patch of forest and a herd of cattle resting. At one point a curious helicopter pilot took a fly by to check us out, he came almost a little too close but it made for a nice photo op.

We travelled along at about 7 km an hour, taking pictures and taking in the beautiful countryside and terrain of the Oak Ridges Moraine. At one point Dave took the balloon down low and we floated above some tree tops and then he took it down even lower and we were just inches above the lush green grass of an open field before he squeezed the red button filling the balloon with more hot air so it would take us back up. Unfortunately, the 'sunset' flight wasn't as picturesque as one might image as there was a thick cloud cover. After a few more minutes, Dave spotted a field that looked good for landing (no livestock and playground equipment, which usually means even if the farmer isn't too keen on us landing in his field his children convince him because they want to take a look). We faced the direction we were landing, bended our knees to prepare for the impact and after 35 minutes in the air we once again felt the ground underneath us. It was a pretty smooth landing with only a few bumps and the basket stayed upright. The farmer and his three kids came out to greet us and watched as the balloon was quickly packed up (we couldn't of landed at a better time as it had begun to rain).

After everything was back in the trailer it was time for a bit of tradition. We each were given a glass of champagne and we invited the farmer and his underage family to join us in a toast. The three passengers and I knelt with our right knee on the ground facing the direction we landed. Dave then put a piece of the earth (grass) on each of our heads and sprinkled them with champagne before saying the balloonist's prayer "The winds have welcomed you with softness. The Sun has blessed you with his warm hands. You have flown so high and so well, that God has joined you in your laughter, and has set you gently back again in to the loving arms of Mother Earth.", it is supposed to bring us luck. We drank and then it was back to the city. On the drive back I felt relaxed and calm, it was only a balloon ride but I thought I would have been scared - I mean it is one tiny basket, 1,000 feet in the air - maybe I should take more risks, I thought. Maybe next I'll try sky diving...On second thought, I'm too chicken for that!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Summer sickness

Scratchy throat, stuffy noise, sinus pressure and pain, oh, and I can't forget the fever. How have I managed to get sick in June?...
Was it the food from the union course possibly contaminated by my brothers and sisters?...or was it the buffet at the awards dinner? (no sneeze guards at the fancy hotel)...or maybe it was my decision to venture outside into the real world Tuesday after weeks of sanctuary at home and work?
No matter, I will persevere. I will fly despite my weakened, sickly state.
But first I will build up my strength with yummy Thai and retail therapy.

Two-faced kitty

The picture definitely does a better job of telling the story on this one. Gemini was born with two mouths, two tongues, two noses and four eyes.
"If she makes it, she should be a perfectly normal and healthy cat. Other than having two faces,” said her owner.
Oh yah, perfectly normal...The other cats won't mock or point when the freak kitten gives herself a bath and falls flat on her faces as she attempts to lick both paws at the same time.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Word of the week

Estoppel (estoppe): can be used during grievance procedures.
I think it's a funny word...Besides, I couldn't spend two days at a union course and not share something I learned.

I also learned unions give free stuff. I got a cool new black CEP bag and a fetching sleeveless black golf shirt.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Poor Flo

I thought I was sad.
On the other hand, maybe 80 years is a little too long to be with one person...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

'Free Katie'

This is probably old news by now (stupid meeting running until 11:45 p.m. last night and me having to be at work at 8 a.m. this morning!) but it is funny enough that I have to share it with those few people who frequent my blog.

A new site contends that Katie Holmes is in a prison of sorts, due to Tom Cruise's hyper-public expressions of love (does anybody else hope that the next time he jumps on a couch to proclaim his love he falls and hits his head?) "...Join the movement to liberate Katie, a young, gifted, actress held captive by forces we may never understand. Even one summer of captivity is too long for one so bright!" There are great pictures of Cruise appearing to forcibly hold onto his new love.

Can't the Top Gun find anyone his own age?...Or at least his own size?

Happy Birthday!

Today Christine, my wonderful cousin and friend, turns 26. Have a great day!
I guess that means my time is coming soon...gulp...ahhhh...no, I don't want to not be 25 anymore. Well, at least there will be cake...

Monday, June 13, 2005

MJ Not Guilty!

OMG! (audible gasp)
Michael Jackson has been found 'not guilty' on ALL 10 Charges: including lewd act on a child under 14 and attempted lewd act on a child under 14. He wasn't even convicted on the four counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mad cow

I knew it, cows can kill!

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigerian police arrested a cow that killed a bus driver who was urinating on a highway, a police spokesman said Thursday.
The horned African cow, which was wandering stray in the Ojo district of Nigeria's biggest city Lagos, also injured several bystanders after killing the man.
"The cow went mad, ran into a bus driver and knocked him down. Efforts to revive him were fruitless," said Lagos police spokesman Olubode Ojajuni.

Granted cows can be cute — especially those black and white dairy ones — but I don't need to be warned twice. From now on this is how all visits to farms will be blocked: me, 10 feet of field, farmer, sturdy fence, 50 feet of field, great big cow (is 60 feet enough? How fast can cows run?).
And to think people actually laughed at me for not wanting to get too close to a field of cows. Who's laughing now?...Not the Nigerian bus driver. No, not him because big Besey killed him!

The wind put a smile upon my face

Yesterday was a good day. I went to visit Tiffany in the small but cute town of Fenwick and from there it was on to Canada's Las Vegas — that's right, nothing cheers one up better than a trip to Niagara Falls (seriously, I heard from a reliable source there is something in the water that makes people happy).

But it was the wind that made me laugh...and laugh...and laugh (I know — I'm mean).

Upon leaving the Hershey store without making a purchase (unbelievable but true) I was feeling slightly blue when my always observant eyes caught sight of a girl wearing a skirt riding a little high in the back. Not one to walk away from making a judgemental comment about a stranger I promptly pointed out the fashion faux pas to Tiffany adding something along the lines of, "if the wind starts blowing her skirt doesn't stand a chance." To which the wind promptly obeyed by blowing up the twirley black skirt to reveal blue underwear. I couldn't contain myself, I burst out laughing and then the wind blew again and I laughed again and then the wind blew it up again and I let out a another gleeful laugh (well, you get the picture) all while walking along one of the tourist destination's busiest streets. We made sure to stay well back so the poor girl couldn't hear the sound of my joy at her expense. Once I gained control of my laughter I turned to my smiling friend and said, "at least she wasn't wearing a thong." Perish the thought!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

No vote for you!

Canada's 16-year-olds will have to stick with driving as a rite of passage after a private member's bill to lower the federal voting age by two years was defeated in the House of Commons Wednesday. Only 85 members supported the bill, which was introduced by a Toronto-area MP in November. It wasn't all for nought, the bill did generate a lot of buzz across the country and served to raise the profile of the rookie MP.

I would have voted when I was 16...but I'm a little geeky when it comes to that stuff.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Butt outt

The Ontario Liberals have finally kept an election promise...

Today they passed what is being called the "most aggressive anti-tobacco legislation in North America." As of June 2006, you and I will be able to breathe easy in every indoor public and workplace in the province. I can't wait (yes, I find happiness in the little things).

For those of us in Toronto and the GTA this news isn't that groundbreaking as there have been smoking bans in restaurants here for years and in bars/clubs for about a year, but there are municipalities in northern and southwestern Ontario that would have never, ever gone smoke free on their own. Where the member of provincial parliament say things like "the jury is still out on the effects of second hand smoke", where hundreds of tobacco farmers are still the backbone of the local economy and where they still had those little metal ashtrays at the local Mcburger joint just two and a half years ago (remember those? I hadn't seen them since I was a kid).

Don't get me wrong, I (kinda) feel for the tobacco farmers who are losing their livelihood as the number of people lighting up goes down and for the small business owner who is losing business at his bar, but the benefits of this law outweight any negatives. The benefits for restaurant employees, asthmatics, people allergic to smoke, and everyone else that hates coming home smelling like an ashtray after a night out. Not to mention the laundry list of health problems related to second hand smoke...

Shame on those six MPPs who voted against it...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

In the beginning

I knew nothing of the world of blogging four months ago but I guess once you start you can't stop so now I have my own. I don't know how long the itch will last or if I'll have anything interesting to say...I guess I'll just have to wait and see.